About Adoptee Rage

Statistics Identify large populations of Adoptees in prisons, mental hospitals and committed suicide.
Fifty years of scientific studies on child adoption resulting in psychological harm to the child and
poor outcomes for a child's future.
Medical and psychological attempts to heal the broken bonds of adoption, promote reunions of biological parents and adult children. The other half of attempting to repair a severed Identity is counselling therapy to rebuild the self.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Adoption Paradox Study


The Adoption Paradox Study

This study states the facts, that adopted children do much worse than their biological family raised co-students from kindergarten throughout school years in grades and ability. The study questions the fact that adoptive parents with their financial stability, college education attainment and still adopted children do not benefit from the adoptive parent's resources, that is proven in their school performance included this study. (Link to study Below) 

Adoption Paradox Study Written Highlights, statistics found on study link: 

To expand what we know about adopted students, for this Institute for Family Studies research brief, I carried out a fresh analysis of data from a large longitudinal study of 19,000 kindergarten students that was conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics beginning in 1998. This study, known as the ECLS-K, contains enough cases of adoption (160 children and families) for some reasonably robust estimates of its effects, at least in the early grades. Because the study began in kindergarten, we know the adopted children were all adopted early in their lives, if not at birth. The ECLS-K has the further advantage of being based on direct assessment of student knowledge and skills, and teachers’ rather than parents’ reports about classroom conduct.2 This is the first study of adopted children’s school behavior that is based on independent teacher reports and makes use of a representative national sample of students from adoptive families.
Previous analyses of federal survey data indicate that adoptive families tend to be better off financially than other families with children in the United States.3 This is partly due to self-selection and partly because of the screening that adoptive parents must go through before they are allowed to adopt. In addition, adoptive parents have higher levels of education and put more effort into caring for their children than biological parents do.4 Yet my analysis shows that adoptees do not do as well in school as one would expect from their highly advantaged home environments. The results call into question the widely held assumption that larger investments of money and time in children can overcome the effects of early stress and deprivation and genetic risk factors.
The data presented in this research brief show that adopted children in kindergarten and first grade display above-average levels of problem behavior, exhibit below-average levels of positive learning attitudes, and score below average on reading and math assessments, despite their advantaged family background. Why don’t the plentiful resources and strenuous nurturing efforts of adoptive parents lead to better classroom conduct and higher achievement by their adopted children? Possible reasons why family resources do not always produce great outcomes may be found in attachment theory, traumatic stress theory, and behavior genetics.
Attachment theory holds that a warm, intimate, and continuous relationship with at least one adult, usually the mother, is essential for the mental health of infants and young children. Children who do not develop a stable and secure bond during early childhood, or have the bond disrupted, are subject to both short-term distress reactions and longer-term abnormalities in their feelings and behavior toward other people. Not having a stable maternal bond is apt to produce long-lasting deficits in the child’s social development, deficiencies that are not easily remedied by a new home environment, no matter how favorable.
Some adopted children experienced neglect, abuse, or other stressful events prior to their adoption. According to traumatic stress theory, the likelihood of long-term emotional scars depends on the intensity and duration of the stress. Severe or prolonged early stress can have long-lasting effects on a child’s development, effects that a supportive adoptive family may only partly ameliorate.
Behavior genetics is relevant because adoptive parents usually cannot choose or control the genetic endowment of the children they adopt. Indeed, often they are not even fully informed about the educational attainments or occupations of the child’s birth parents, nor do they learn much about their family histories. In other instances, adoptive parents consciously select children with known disabilities, hoping that the parental care they provide will enable the children to thrive.
Because the educational attainments of adoptive parents are exceptionally high, the genetic endowment of most children available for adoption is likely to be less favorable to intellectual accomplishment than the endowments of their adoptive parents. No matter how much intellectual stimulation and encouragement the parents provide the child, they may not be able to overcome the limitations of the child’s genetic heritage.
Probably all three of these theoretical perspectives have something to offer in accounting for the paradox of adoption in America. However, none of the findings presented here is meant to minimize the tremendous contribution that adoptive parents make to the children they take in or to society in general. Many adopted children do reasonably well in school and enjoy lives that are far better than they would have experienced had they not been adopted. And they do so at less cost and burden to the public than if the children were raised in foster homes or institutions.
At the same time, it is important for both prospective adoptive parents and policy-makers to be realistic about what adoption can and cannot accomplish. The availability of the “adoption option” does not do away with the need for better prevention of unplanned and unwanted conceptions, so that fewer children are born into high-risk situations where they are likely to experience neglect or abuse and become in need of adoption.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Adoption's Consequences to Adopted Child's Psychological Wellbeing


Adoption's Consequences to Adopted Child's Psychological Wellbeing

Journal Issue: Adoption Volume 3 Number 1 Spring 1993

Psychological and Emotional Effects of the Closed System 
Our decades of experience in counseling individuals affected by adoption suggest that requiring anonymity between birthparents and adoptive parents and sealing all information about the birthparents from the adopted child has damaging effects on all three parties. These damaging effects are discussed below.
Effects on the Birthparents
Relinquishment of a newborn child may be profoundly damaging to birthparents and cause lifelong pain and suffering. Even when relinquishment is a carefully considered and chosen option, birthmothers—and often birthfathers—may suffer from a heightened sense of worthlessness after giving away a child. They may feel guilty about their actions. These birthparents may believe that their offspring will not understand the reasons for relinquishment and that these offspring will blame and hate their birthparents for rejecting and abandoning them. The birthparents may want their children to know that they continue to care about them and, in turn, may wish to learn about the kind of people their children have become. No matter how many children they may have subsequently, birthparents may still desire knowledge and contact with the one they gave up.6
In traditional closed adoptions, such knowledge and contact is not possible. Birthparents do not know who adopted their child, where he or she lives, or even whether the child is alive or dead. Even in so-called open placements where all parties know the identity of all other parties, birthparents often have no ongoing contact with the child. In these instances, birthparents may feel powerless. They have no knowledge of what is happening to their child and no opportunity to let the adoptive family know of significant events in their own lives.
Effects on the Adoptees
Adopted children also frequently suffer from the secrecy imposed in closed adoptions, particularly during adolescence when they often experience greater identity conflicts than members of the nonadopted population.7 The process of developing an individual identity is more complicated for adoptees because they live with the knowledge that an essential part of their personal history remains on the other side of the adoption barrier. In closed adoptions, any desire on the part of an adopted child to learn more about the birthparents is blocked, often leading to fantasies and distortions. Easily escalated, these may develop into more serious problems. In our studies, we described these adoption-related identity conflicts as resulting in "identity lacunae," which can lead to feelings of shame, embarrassment, and low self-esteem.7 In addition, adoptees may experience a deep fear of loss and separation. Many adopted children feel that they were given away because there was something wrong with them from the beginning.
We observed that, in late adolescence, negative feelings and questions about being adopted increased. In young adulthood, plans for marriage may create an urgent desire for specific background information, particularly about family history. For adopted adult women, pregnancy and the birth of a child may raise fears of possible unknown hereditary problems. Becoming a parent may also trigger intense feelings in the adoptee toward his or her own birthmother. These feelings may include not only empathy for her difficult emotional situation, but also anger and disbelief that she could have given up her own child. The feelings frequently create a need in adoptees to search for birthparents and the hope for a reunion to bring together the broken connections from the past. Such a search, if undertaken, often is prolonged, painful, and fruitless.
Effects on the Adoptive Parents
Finally, closed adoption can also have negative psychological and emotional effects on the adoptive parents. With no knowledge of or contact with the birthparents, adoptive parents may find it difficult to think and talk about birthparents as real people. They may be unable to answer truthfully their adoptive children's inevitable questions about why they were given up, what their birthparents were like, and what happened to these parents in later life. The ghosts of the birthparents, inherent in the closed system, are ever present, and may lead to the fear that these parents will reclaim the child and that the child will love these parents more than the adoptive parents.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Adopted Child Marketing Campaigns


Adopted Child Marketing Campaigns

Outrage over child models used to ‘sell’ adoptee children from broken homes

Source: http://www.smh.com.au
March 28, 2016
Rory Callinan
Investigative journalist
Children offered for adoption are being represented as photogenic child models with attractive personalities in a controversial internet advertising campaign run by a NSW government-funded charity.
The marketing campaign by Barnardos has infuriated an adult adoptees support group which claims it is akin to an online sale of children and misrepresents the character and looks of potential adoptees.
The web campaign, which features beaming child models alongside captions such as Owen “is five years old ..and can be a little chatterbox ..and has a delightful sense of humour” is being used to advertise children while avoiding breaching privacy laws which prohibit their identification.
Australian Adoptee Rights Action Group earlier this month called for a halt to the online advertising by the charity which receives tens of thousands of dollars in government funding for each adoption it succeeds in arranging.
Group head Catherine Lynch described the website as being part of the “commodification of children” and not an accurate depiction of the children.
“It’s misrepresenting the child. Some of these children must have been through traumatic experiences having lost or been separated from their mums and dads,” said Dr Lynch, who is an adoptee herself.
Dr Lynch said the captions seemed to be aimed at a particular market.
“People all over the world can browse these sites and it’s on there fairly permanently. It will be hurtful to know that you were advertised with a post on the internet,” said Dr Lynch, who sits on the NSW Committee on Adoption and Permanent Care.
In a complaint to the charity she said: “We are aware models are being used and not photographs of the actual children but we do not consider this much different to any other kind of online sale.”
Dr Lynch said one heading that had been used on the page had also raised concerns.
“The heading was not ‘Vulnerable children in need of families’ but ‘We’ll help you create a family: adopt with Barnardos’.”
Dr Lynch said Barnardos was reported to receive about $40,000 for each adoption it succeeded in arranging.
Barnardos vigorously defended the advertising practice saying if it helped one of the children get adopted by the right family then they “stood by it 100 per cent”.
Barnardos chief executive Deirdre Cheers denied children were being treated as commodities and said the children referred to on the website were those that the charity had been “struggling to find a permanent placement for”.
“Some [of the children] have been in a temporary placement for two years or more with no prospects of a permanent home or a family to call their own,” Ms Cheers said.
“We are desperate to find families for these children and if an online campaign helps find the right families to care for them then we stand behind this practice 100 per cent.”
She said they had to explore all channels including online to find permanent families for the children “who have been removed due to chronic abuse and neglect” and “ruled by the courts never to return home”.
Ms Cheers said the models were used to protect children’s identities, which was stated on the website.
“We change specific details so the children are non-identifiable.”
Ms Cheers said all out-of-home-care agencies receive government grants to organise foster families.
She said the money reimburses carers, provides for case workers and organises ongoing contact with the child’s birth family.
It also covers legal expenses to present their case to the courts, she said.
Earlier this year, the NSW government provided $2.85 million in funding for Barnardos and the University of Sydney to establish an institution of open adoption.
Last year, Barnardos finalised 21 adoptions in NSW and since it became involved in 1984, it has arranged 300 in total.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/outrage-over-child-models-used-to-sell-adoptee…
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Marketing Campaigns to Boost Funding in Adoption Agency Business

Most adoption companies formerly used marketing techniques like advertising in local or national magazines. They would write articles or advertorials the magazines. Other methods that were generally used for marketing adoption were running ads in newspapers or in the Yellow Pages. A non-profit business cannot spend a whole lot of money on marketing, though, and these traditional methods were not as effective and were costing each company more money than they were getting for results, so they had to find other ways to advertise their services.

Even though the states and the government have sent out many forms of assistance so that teenage girls would not get pregnant at such a young age, this is still happening a lot. An adoption agency needs to use marketing techniques to reach these young women, and to reach the parents of these teens. Marketing campaigns need to work well and be effective enough to reach these troubled teens and their parents, as well as reach out to those couples who want a baby and are unable to have one of their own. Newspaper and telephone book use are on the decline, although the personal ads are still a way for individuals to connect.
Instead, most people are looking on the Internet for answers and for items of interest. Children are a very important part of the world and if a business that is there to help bring together pregnant women, couples and little babies and children, the business needs to reach as many people as possible.
The Internet offers innovative and cost effective methods for adoption marketing. Websites can focus on reaching more people, telling people who the business is, and what they do. An excellent method of Internet marketing is having a website blog chronicling true stories of happy events surrounding adoption, and doing this in a matter of moments. Pay-per-click advertising is another method that adoption agencies should consider. It will give them more traffic to their websites and help increase awareness. A combination of Internet marketing methods is most effective, and should include search engine optimization, viral marketing and article marketing as well. LINK:https://www.customermagnetism.com/industry/adoption-marketing/

The Normal Process of Counterfactual-Thinking Is Vilified In Adopted Children


The Normal Process of "Counterfactual Thinking" Vilified In Adopted Children 

In recent research I keep uncovering "psychology principled facts" that is opposite of current adoption psychology research education. These relics from the past claim themselves "psychological experts in adoption" yet have no current training or awareness of 21st century collective progressive topics and advancements in the psychology of child adoption. These child development experts wrote the psychological manuals of adoption behavior a half century ago that is utilized currently by adoption industry exploitation. These psychology dinosaurs from the "blank-slate-theory" continue to influence with a bygone era education that chronically pinpoints many adopted child behaviors as "disturbing". Yet these so called experts continue deny that child adoption has a dedicated psychological school of study known as "psychology of child adoption" with specialized academic protocols with corresponding educational degrees. 

The so-called "adoption experts term "negative behavior" in adopted children was/is described by experts as "Magical Thinking" and "Biological or Birth Parent Romance" when an adopted child thought or think about their biological mother, father, siblings, family etc.. The literature tries to persuade the adoptive parent that the adopted child's magical thinking will interfere with the identity development of the "adopted identity". The true identity development can not take place as the adopted child is lacking all relevant information about the adopted child's true biological identity. The adopted identity is a temporary identity during adopted childhood. When the adoptee reaches age of majority, the biological reunion will fill in the biological facts of his true identity and give the adoptee the tools to integrate the identity that the adoptee chooses free from bias, influence or guilt about who he is.  

The term "Counterfactual Thinking is a common thought process that all humans engage in, thinking behavior that sorts out past experiences, events and scenarios. That assist the adopted child in "Not reproducing the undesired effects of adoption" and gives the adopted child "psychological control" over his life, where adoption was in control of the adoptee's life previously.

Magical thinking, birth parent romance or counterfactual thinking should be thought, acted-out and observed in psychologically healthy adopted children as a normal manifestation from the ambiguity of forced adoption placement and lacking life facts.

Counterfactual thinking

Counterfactual thinking is a concept in psychology that involves the human tendency to create possible alternatives to life events that have already occurred; something that is contrary to what actually happened. Counterfactual thinking is exactly as it states: "counter to the facts."[1] These thoughts consist of the "What if?" and the "If I had only..." that occur when thinking of how things could have turned out differently. Counterfactual thoughts are things that could never possibly happen in reality, because they solely pertain to events that have occurred in the past.


Counterfactual literally means contrary to the facts. A counterfactual thought occurs when a person modifies a factual prior event and then assesses the consequences of that change. A person may imagine how an outcome could have turned out differently, if the antecedents that led to that event were different. For example, a person may reflect upon how a car accident could have turned out by imagining how some of the factors could have been different, for example, If only I hadn't been speeding.... These alternatives can be better or worse than the actual situation, and in turn give improved or more disastrous possible outcomes, If only I hadn't been speeding, my car wouldn't have been wrecked orIf I hadn't been wearing a seatbelt, I would have been killed.
Counterfactual thoughts have been shown to produce negative emotions, however they may also produce functional or beneficial effects. Ideas that create a more negative outcome are downward counterfactuals and those thoughts that create a more positive outcome are considered upward counterfactuals. These counterfactual thoughts, or thoughts of what could have happened, can affect people's emotions, such as causing them to experience regret, guilt, relief, or satisfaction. They can also affect how they view social situations, such as who deserves blame and responsibility.


The origin of counterfactual thinking has philosophical roots and can be traced back to early philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato who pondered the epistemological status of subjunctive suppositions and their nonexistent but feasible outcomes. In the seventeenth century, the German philosopher Leibniz, argued that there could be an infinite number of alternate worlds, so long as they were not in conflict with laws of logic. The well known philosopher Nicholas Rescher (as well as others) has written about the interrelationship between counterfactual reasoning and modal logic. The relationship between counterfactual reasoning based upon modal logic may also be exploited in literature or Victorian Studies, painting and poetry.  Ruth M. J. Byrne (2005) proposed that the mental representations and cognitive processes that underlie the imagination of alternatives to reality are similar to those that underlie rational thought, including reasoning from counterfactual conditionals. 
More recently, counterfactual thinking has gained interest from a psychological perspective.   Cognitive scientists have examined the mental representations and cognitive processes that underlie the creation of counterfactuals. Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky (1982) pioneered the study of counterfactual thought, showing that people tend to think 'if only' more often about exceptional events than about normal events. Many related tendencies have since been examined, e.g., whether the event is an action or inaction, whether it is controllable, its place in the temporal order of events, or its causal relation to other events. Social psychologists have studied cognitive functioning and counterfactuals in a larger, social context.
Early research on counterfactual thinking took the perspective that these kinds of thoughts were indicative of poor coping skills, psychological error or bias, and generally dysfunctional in nature. As research developed, a new wave of insight beginning in the 1990s began taking a functional perspective, believing that counterfactual thinking served as a largely beneficial behavioral regulator. Although negative affect and biases arise, the overall benefit is positive for human behavior.


There are two portions to counterfactual thinking. First, there is the activation portion.                                          This activation is whether we allow the counterfactual thought to seep into our conscious thought. The second portion involves content. This content portion creates the end scenario for the antecedent.
The activation portion leads into the mystery of why we allow ourselves to think of other alternatives that could have been beneficial or harmful to us. It is believed that humans tend to think of counterfactual ideas when there were exceptional circumstances that led to an event, and thus could have been avoided in the first place. We also tend to create counterfactual ideas when we feel guilty about a situation and wish to exert more control. For example, in a study by Davis et al., parents who suffered the death of an infant were more likely to counterfactual think 15 months later if they felt guilty about the incident or if there were odd circumstances surrounding the mortality. In the case of a death of natural causes, parents tended to counterfactual think to a lesser extent over the course of time.
Another factor that determines how much we use counterfactual thought is how close we were to an alternative outcome. This is especially true when there is a negative outcome that was this close to a positive outcome. For example, in a study by Meyers-Levy and Maheswaran, subjects were more likely to counterfactual think alternative circumstances for a target if his house burned down three days after he forgot to renew his insurance versus six months after he forgot to renew his insurance. Therefore, the idea that a final outcome almost occurred plays a role in the reason we emphasize that outcome.

Functional basis

It can be wondered why we continue to think in counterfactual ways if these thoughts tend to make us feel guilty or negatively about an outcome. One of the functional reasons for this is to correct for mistakes and to avoid making them again in the future. If a person is able to consider another outcome based on a different path, they may take that path in the future and avoid the undesired outcome. It is obvious that the past cannot be changed, however, it is likely that similar situations may occur in the future, and thus we take our counterfactual thoughts as a learning experience. For example, if a person has a terrible interview and thinks about how it may have been more successful if they had responded in a more confident manner, they are more likely to respond more confidently in their next interview.

Risk aversion

Another reason we continue to use counterfactual theory is to avoid situations that may be unpleasant to us, which is part of our approach and avoidance behavior. Often, people make a conscious effort to avoid situations that may make them feel unpleasant. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes find ourselves in these unpleasant situations anyway. In these situations, we continue to use counterfactual thinking to think of ways that that event could have been avoided and in turn to learn to avoid those situations again in the future. For example, if a person finds hospitals to be an uncomfortable place, but find themselves in one due to cutting their finger while doing dishes, they may think of ways they could have avoided going to the hospital by tending to the wound themselves or doing the dishes more carefully.

Behavior intention

We continue to use counterfactual thoughts to change our future behavior in a way that is more positive, or behavior intention. This can involve immediately making a change in our behavior immediately after the negative event occurred. By actively making a behavioral change, we are completely avoiding the problem again in the future. An example, is forgetting about Mother's Day, and immediately writing the date on the calendar for the following year, as to definitely avoid the problem.

Goal-directed activity

In the same sense as behavior intention, people tend to use counterfactual thinking in goal-directed activity. Past studies have shown that counterfactuals serve a preparative function on both individual and group level. When people fail to achieve their goals, counterfactual thinking will be activated (e.g., studying more after a disappointing grade). When they engage in upward counterfactual thinking, people are able to imagine alternatives with better positive outcomes. The outcome seems worse when compared to positive alternative outcomes. This realization motivates them to take positive action in order to meet their goal in the future.
Markman, Gavanski, Sherman, and McMullen (1993) identified the repeatability of an event as an important factor in determining what function will be used. For events that happen repeatedly (e.g., sport games) there is an increased motivation to imagine alternative antecedents in order to prepare for a better future outcome. For one-time events, however, the opportunity to improve future performance does not exist, so it is more likely that the person will try to alleviate disappointment by imagining how things could have been worse. The direction of the counterfactual statement is also indicative of which function may be used. Upward counterfactuals have a greater preparative function and focus on future improvement, while downward counterfactuals are used as a coping mechanism in an affective function. Furthermore, additive counterfactuals have shown greater potential to induce behavioral intentions of improving performance. Hence, counterfactual thinking motivates individuals to making goal-oriented actions in order to attain their (failed) goal in the future.

Collective action

On the other hand, at a group level, counterfactual thinking can lead to collective action. According to Milesi and Catellani (2011), political activists exhibit group commitment and are more likely to re-engage in collective action following a collective defeat and show when they are engage in counterfactual thinking. Unlike the cognitive processes involved at individual level, abstract counterfactuals lead to an increase in group identification, which is positively correlated with collective action intention. The increase in group identification impacts on people's affect. Abstract counterfactuals also lead to an increase in group afficacy. Increase in group efficacy translates to belief that the group has the ability to change outcomes in situations. This in turn motivates group members to make group-based actions to attain their goal in the future.

Benefits and consequences

When thinking of downward counterfactual thinking, or ways that the situation could have turned out worse, people tend to feel a sense of relief. For example, if after getting into a car accident somebody thinks "At least I wasn't speeding, then my car would have been totaled." This allows for consideration of the positives of the situation, rather than the negatives. In the case of upward counterfactual thinking, people tend to feel more negative affect (e.g., regret, disappointment) about the situation. When thinking in this manner, people focus on ways that the situation could have turned out more positively: for example, "If only I had studied more, then I wouldn't have failed my test".

Current Research

As with many cognitive processes in the brain, current and upcoming research seeks to gain better insight into the functions and outcomes of how we think. Research for counterfactual thinking has recently been investigating various effects and how they might alter or contribute to counterfactual thinking. One study by Rim and Summerville (2014) investigated the distance of the event in terms of time and how this length of time can affect the process by which counterfactual thinking can occur. Their results showed that "people generated more downward counterfactuals about recent versus distant past events, while they tended to generate more upward counterfactuals about distant versus recent past events," which was consistent in their replications for social distance as well. They also examine the possible mechanism of manipulating social distance and the effect this could have on responding to negative events in either a self-improvement or self-enhancement motivations.
Recent research by Scholl and Sassenberg (2014) looked to determine how perceived power in the situation can affect the counterfactual thought and process associated to understanding future directions and outlooks. The research examined how manipulating the perceived power of the individual in the given circumstance can lead to different thoughts and reflections, noting that "demonstrated that being powerless (vs. powerful) diminished self-focused counterfactual thinking by lowering sensed personal control". These results may show a relationship between how the self perceives events and determines the best course of action for future behavior.


Upward and Downward

Upward counterfactual thinking focuses on how the situation could have been better. Many times, people think about what they could have done differently. For example, "If I started studying three days ago, instead of last night, I could have done better on my test." Since people often think about what they could have done differently, it is not uncommon for people to feel regret during upward counterfactual thinking.
Downward counterfactual thinking focuses on how the situation could have been worse. In this scenario, a person can make themselves feel better about the outcome because they realize that the situation is not the worst it could be. For example, "I'm lucky I earned a 'C' on that; I didn't start studying until last night." 


A counterfactual statement may involve the action or inaction of an event that originally took place. An additive statement involves engaging in an event that did not originally occur (e.g., I should have taken medicine) wheres a subtractive statement involves removing an event that took place (e.g., I should have never started drinking). Additive counterfactuals are more frequent than subtractive counterfactuals.
Additive and upward counterfactual thinking focuses on "what else could I have done to do well?". Subtractive and upward counterfactual thinking focuses on "what shouldn't I have done so I could do well?". In contrast, an additive and downward scenario would be, "If I went drinking last night as well, I would have done even worse", while a subtractive and downward scenario would be, "if I didn't start studying two days ago, I would have done much worse".

Self vs. other

This distinction simply refers to whether the counterfactual is about actions of the self (e.g., I should have slowed down) or someone else's actions (e.g., The other driver should have slowed down). Self counterfactuals are more prevalent than other person focused counterfactuals.
Construal Level Theory explains that self counterfactuals are more prevalent because the event in question is psychologically closer than an event in which others are involved.


Norm theory

Kahneman and Miller (1986)  proposed the norm theory as a theoretical basis to describe the rationale for counterfactual thoughts. Norm theory suggests that the ease of imagining a different outcome determines the counterfactual alternatives created. Norms involve a pairwise comparison between a cognitive standard and an experiential outcome. A discrepancy elicits an affective response which is influenced by the magnitude and direction of the difference. For example, if a server makes twenty dollars more than a standard night, a positive affect will be evoked. If a student earns a lower grade than is typical, a negative affect will be evoked. Generally, upward counterfactuals are likely to result in a negative mood, while downward counterfactuals elicit positive moods.
Kahneman and Miller (1986) also introduced the concept of mutability to describe the ease or difficulty of cognitively altering a given outcome. An immutable outcome (i.e., gravity) is difficult to modify cognitively whereas a mutable outcome (i.e.,speed) is easier to cognitively modify. Most events lie somewhere in the middle of these extremes. The more mutable the antecedents of an outcome are, the greater availability there is of counterfactual thoughts.
Wells and Gavanski (1989) studied counterfactual thinking in terms of mutability and causality. An event or antecedent is considered causal if mutating that event will lead to undoing the outcome. Some events are more mutable than others. Exceptional events (i.e., taking an unusual route then getting into an accident) are more mutable than normal events (i.e., taking a usual route and getting into an accident). This mutability, however, may only pertain to exceptional cases (i.e., car accident). Controllable events (i.e., intentional decision) are typically more mutable than uncontrollable events (i.e., natural disaster). In short, the greater the number of alternative outcomes constructed, the more unexpected the event, and the stronger emotional reaction elicited.

Rational imagination theory

Byrne (2005) outlined a set of cognitive principles that guide the possibilities that people think about when they imagine an alternative to reality. Experiments show that people tend to think about realistic possibilities, rather than unrealistic possibilities, and they tend to think about few possibilities rather than many. Counterfactuals are special in part because they require people to think about at least two possibilities (reality, and an alternative to reality), and to think about a possibility that is false, temporarily assumed to be true. Experiments have corroborated the proposal that the principles that guide the possibilities that people think about most readily, explain their tendencies to focus on, for example, exceptional events rather than normal events, actions rather than inactions, and more recent events rather than earlier events in a sequence.

Functional theory

The functional theory looks at how counterfactual thinking and its cognitive processes benefit people. Counterfactuals serve a preparative function, and help people avoid past blunders. Counterfactual thinking also serves the affective function to make a person feel better. By comparing one's present outcome to a less desirable outcome, the person may feel better about the current situation (1995). For example, a disappointed runner who did not win a race may feel better by saying, "At least I did not come in last."
Although counterfactual thinking is largely adaptive in its functionality, there are exceptions. For individuals experiencing severe depressive symptoms, perceptions of control are diminished by negative self-perceptions and low self-efficacy. As a result, motivation for self-improvement is weakened. Even when depressed individuals focus on controllable events, their counterfactuals are less reasonable and feasible. Epstude and Roese (2008) propose that excessive counterfactual thoughts can lead people to worry more about their problems and increase distress. When individuals are heavily focused on improving outcomes, they will be more likely to engage in maladaptive counterfactual thinking. Other behavior such as procrastination may lead to less effective counterfactual thinking. Procrastinators show a tendency to produce more downward counterfactuals than upward counterfactuals. As a result, they tend to become complacent and lack motivation for change. Perfectionists are another group for whom counterfactual thinking may not be functional.

Rational counterfactual

 Tshilidzi Marwala introduced rational countefactual which is a counterfactual which, given the factual, maximizes the attainment of the desired consequent. For an example suppose we have a factual statement: Qaddafi supported terrorism and consequently Barack Obama declared war on Libya then its counterfactuals is: If Qaddafi did not support terrorism then Barack Obama would not have declared war on Libya. The theory of rational counterfactuals identifies the antecedent that gives the desired consequent necessary for rational decision making. For example, suppose there is an explosion in some chemical plant. The rational counterfactual will be what should have been the situation to ensure that the possibility of an explosion is minimized.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Abusive Parents: Why they deny what happen


ARTICLE: Abusive Parents: Why they deny what happened

Written By Oliver R J Cooper


Parents that are abusive often deny that the abuse has ever taken place. And if it is not denied, then it may even be minimized. Both of these actions can have devastating consequences on the lives of those that were abused.

So here I want to take a closer look at why parents deny or minimize abuse and why adult children of abuse are affected by this denial and minimization.

Denial And Minimization

These are known as defence mechanisms that the ego mind uses. And like any defence mechanism, these are used for protection and stability.  The ego minds main purpose is to be safe; it does not care if something is accurate or inaccurate or whether it is functional or dysfunctional.

So anything that the ego mind perceives as a threat to its own sense of safety and internal equilibrium will be dealt with via a defence mechanism. The saying ‘The truth hurts’ comes to mind here and one of the reasons for this is that the ego mind does not run on what is true it only cares about what is familiar and therefore safe.


However, although we all have an ego mind, we are not the mind itself; we are the observers of the mind. And it is the level of awareness that one has, that will define if it is possible to be aware of when these defence mechanism are being utilized.

And when one has minimal to no awareness; the ego mind becomes like a parasite. Here the ego mind can completely take over and what is actually going on will become very difficult for one to see and therefore to take responsibility for. It is then possible for the past to completely forgotten; at least consciously and a kind amnesia can occur.

Why Do These Exist?

In order for the abusive parents to use these defence mechanism, there must have been something that happened earlier in order for them to need them. Because through there use, they are protecting themselves from something.

Self Regulation

I have come to believe that the reason abuse is carried out in the first place is to regulate what was going on internally for the abusive parent. For example; the parents felt angry, frustrated, hopeless or powerless and as a way to deal with those painful feelings, the parent behaves in a certain way toward the child as a means to regulating this inner conflict.

And so for the abusive parent to admit to what happened they would have to get back in touch with the feelings, thoughts, sensations and emotions that occurred in the first place. This is likely to be an extremely painful experience and therefore the defence mechanisms hold the experience at bay.

Is There More To it?

It would be easy to say that this is all there is to it. However, where did the anger, frustration, hopelessness or powerlessness for example, begin in the first place? And the reason I say this is because abuse is typically something that is a regular occurrence and is not something that might happen once in a while.

Were all human and can all experience the above emotions from time to time, but parents that are abusive, experience this on a regular basis. And in order to carry out this abusive behaviour, these emotions are clearly occur without the
awareness to change them.

From One Generation To The Other

The abusive behaviour of adults usually starts in their childhood and abusive parents are no different in this respect. The Internal processes that the abusive parents are trying to regulate through their children, in the form of abuse; is a consequence of how they were made to feel by their parents.

And as a result of not becoming aware of this trauma and processing what happened all those years ago, there will naturally be a lot of defence mechanisms in place for their own protection. These are likely to be defence mechanisms that were first formed while they were being abused and had to be implemented for their own survival.

The Truth Hurts

So not only would the abusive parents have to re-experience the feelings that they felt during the abuse of the child; they would also have to experience the original unprocessed trauma that happened to them as a vulnerable and innocent child.

Whether these feelings could be classed as being different is debatable, as they are coming from the same place. They may have grown physically since those times, but emotionally and mentally there may not be much of a difference.

And as I have mentioned above about amnesia occurring; at first these defences would have been experienced in a certain way and over the years they would have just got stronger and stronger; until they took over completely. So here one forgets that they have forgotten and then it doesn’t matter what is going on externally or what evidence is available. The ego mind only sees what it wants to see and will filter out anything that opposes its views.

So Why Does It Matter?

When the child has grown into an adult and no longer needs their abusive parents to survive it would seem strange that there would still be any tension or that they would still be affected. Logically this may make no sense whatsoever.

And the reason for this is that although one may have grown physically; their emotional development will have been inhibited through what happened. On one side there is the abuse which will cause problems for the child when it grows up and on the other side there is the invalidation of what happened.

Within ones subconscious mind and in the cells of their body these memories have become trapped and will continue to recreate the same feelings, thoughts, emotions and sensation until hey have been looked at and processed. The reason for this is due to the repression that happened and nothing ever changes by repressing it; it only becomes stronger and more dysfunctional.

Inner Child

The inner child resides in the stomach area and when these past memories have not been looked at, one is at the risk of regressing to this inner child. And with a history of abuse that has not been looked at; it is unlikely that this inner child going to be in a good way.

Here the inner child will be attached to the abusive parents out of the need to survive. And will then need the approval, acceptance, validation and attention of the abusive parents to survive. So the very things that the inner child needs from the abusive parents is something that was never given by them in the beginning and will never be given from them in the end.


What this shows is the importance of awareness in ending the cycle of abuse. It is clear that gaining validation and acknowledgment from abusive parents is more or less impossible.

And although the inner child needs this from the parents, it is not something that one truly needs. The inner child can be validated and acknowledged through the help of a therapist, trusted friend, support group or healer for example.

This is because one is the observer of all these aspects and is therefore not limited or trapped by them. To fight and resist what happened will only create struggle and further enslavement to them. Through observing these aspects one can gradually let go of the past.

If you feel this has been of value, please leave a comment, like or get in touch. And feel free to share this article.

Oliver J R Cooper

Friday, August 26, 2016

The San Pasqual Academy Is an Excellent Alternative to Foster Care and Adoption


The Proven Solution To Adoption and Foster Care "The San Pasqual Academy"

In San Diego County we have a solution to Foster Care that has proven itself worthy in the success rate of high school graduates. However we never hear about it on the news, in newspapers or any media....Why? 

Because the San Pasqual Academy is limited to older kids and conditional of the individual kid's behavior. The foster kids that it serves will not be advertised for adoption, exploitation or imposed sexual favors by the shady foster mother's new boyfriends...In-fact there are no state paid monthly allowance to each foster child's Foster parent. There are no foster parents to take advantage of the kids at the San Pasqual Academy. As long as these kids focus on their studies and follow the program they are safe from being moved again to another foster home, ten moves for a foster child is the average.   

Why are there not more places like the self-responsible San Pasqual academy?
Because it works, and kids graduate high school because of the self responsibility and self actualization that the academy provides.

Read on: The San Pasqual Academy, Escondido, CA.

LINK: www.sanpasqualacademy.org/foster_care_challenge.htm

San Pasqual Academy, the first residential education campus for foster youth in the nation, was created to address the needs of foster youth in San Diego County.  Today, the Academy is changing lives and helping to set our community’s foster youth on a path of success.
The idea of the Academy began to take hold in the late 1990s, when the Board of Supervisors, spearheaded by Supervisor Greg Cox and Supervisor Ron Roberts, along with the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) and the Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court, voiced concerns about critical foster care issues.  The critical issues included the fact that many foster youth were experiencing high numbers of placements, they lacked fully developed independent living skills and they were leaving foster care without earning their high school diploma.
In 1999, the County of San Diego purchased the 238-acre campus from the Seventh Day Adventist Church.  The Church had operated the campus as a boarding school for more than 40 years.  Over the next two years, renovations were funded through a public-private partnership, with the local business community generously donating $14.5 million.
While the campus was being renovated, an HHSA team was assembled and consulted with national experts and more than 400 stakeholders about how the Academy program should be developed. Stakeholders included social workers, juvenile court judges, health care providers, educators, attorneys, law enforcement and community members.  A Youth Advisory Panel, including former and current foster youth, was organized to provide input and feedback on the development of the Academy.
A pivotal two-day conference, with more than 120 participants, was convened to brainstorm the Academy’s program content and physical appearance.  A Steering Committee of senior County administrators, community leaders, and the Board of Supervisors provided project oversight.
A ribbon cutting ceremony took place in September 2001, and the first residents walked through the Academy’s doors in October 2001.  The Academy has the capacity to serve 184 youth.  Referrals are received and assessed year-round to determine if the program can best meet the referred youth’s needs.
Four collaborative partners on campus bring a seamless delivery of services to Academy youth, providing residential, academic, work readiness and dependency case management programs and services.  New Alternatives, Inc., San Diego County Office of Education, San Diego Workforce Partnership and San Diego County HHSA all work together to give youth a well-rounded environment where they can learn, grow, and thrive.  Since 2001, over 700 foster teens have been placed at the Academy and for many, it is a place they call “home.”

Foster Care Challenge
San Pasqual Academy, the first-in-the-nation residential education campus for foster youth, was conceived by the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors following Chairman Greg Cox’s Foster Care Conference in April 1998.  During the Conference, former and current foster youth spoke about their fears of their futures, as well as the futures of other foster youth; their stories were poignant and gripping.  They shared with the Board their feelings of being unprepared to live on their own, their frustrations with moving in and out of multiple foster homes, and their inability to succeed in school due to the lack of stability in their lives.
The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency and the Juvenile Court also expressed deep concerns about the situation and the after-care statistics for foster youth.  In 2000, and continuing into 2006, there were approximately 6300 youth in foster care in San Diego County. Of those who emancipated, 30 percent experienced episodes of homelessness within a year of leaving foster care – higher than the state average. Studies also showed foster youth had serious difficulties finding and keeping jobs, getting an education and learning the skills necessary to live independently.
Studies also revealed that a typical adolescent foster youth moves between homes an average of 10 times, and attends five or six different high schools…83 percent of foster youth are held back by the third grade…75 percent complete class work below grade level…35 percent are in special education…and as few as 15 percent enroll in college.
It was clear that something needed to be done to give San Diego County foster youth a safe, stable and caring environment where they could work towards their high school diploma, prepare for college and/or a vocation and develop crucial independent living skills.  San Pasqual Academy was developed to provide the foster youth with a place they could call home.